Player Of The Year Awards
|Jan Vesely says he expects the Czech class of '90 and '91 to make a real impact on the international scene in the near future|
By Darko Nikolic
One needs only to hear Czech international and Partizan Belgrade sensation Jan Vesely's reaction to being voted 2010 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year to understand how significant the award is.
Here's what the 2.11m high-flying forward, who doesn't turn 21 until April 24, had to say.
"Sincerely, I couldn't believe the moment that I was named as FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year," he said to Basketball World News.
"Of course, I was happy, and I was happy very, very much, but I just couldn't believe it.
"It was like in a dream: My training had just finished, and there was a call from my father.
"He asked me 'Do you know what happened?' and then explained it to me.
"I couldn't believe it at that moment, but I'm still happy because of this achievement."
Many things rush through a player's mind when he receives an honor like this.
There are thoughts of all those people who helped.
There are many who have helped Vesely.
"I must say - all my coaches, since the beginning of my basketball career," he said.
"Of course, Partizan have a special place within that, (former) coach Dusko Vujosevic also, but the whole club, my team-mates and coaching staff of Partizan were more than helpful for my development.
"Partizan gave me a real chance to play, to start my career, and I'll never forget that."
If Vesely has a real passion for wearing the black and white of Partizan, he is also enthusiastic about representing his country.
"It's a different feeling," Vesely said.
|Vesely is one of the latest to come out of the Partizan Belgrade talent factory, not least thanks to former coach Dusko Vujosevic|
"When I'm playing for Partizan, that's the best feeling in the world.
"When I'm playing for the club that gave me the chance, I'm giving all my best to show that I really belong on that court. I want to play my best all the time, but Partizan is something special to me.
"Of course, as a Czech, it's always a big honor and pure joy to represent my country.
"I've been in the Czech national team since I was 15, so it's a bit different feeling than when you are playing in a club competition.
"It's great to play with my longtime friends, for my homeland."
It truly is a case of switching gears.
"It's a bit strange, though, as for the whole year we can't see each other and then we have one month to gather, practice and play together," Vesely said.
"Therefore I'm thrilled every single time when I see all of them."
The Czech Republic are not among the 24 teams that will play at the EuroBasket this summer in Lithuania, but Vesely says he and his countrymen are ambitious.
"My generation, the team consisting of players born in 1990 and 1991 is quite strong, so hopefully we'll make an impact on the international scene," he said.
"I'll do my best for the Czech Republic, my teammates also, and all of us hope we'll bring our national team back to among the European elite."
While many youngsters have favorite players they try to emulate, Vesely had none.
"When I started to play, I didn't look at basketball like it would be my whole life," he said.
"Therefore, I never dreamed that I would play in such a big competition as the Euroleague.
"Because of that, I really didn't have any idols. I've just tried to be the best that was possible for me.
"But, when I've felt real European basketball for the first time, I've got that feeling that I could be a part of it. And that still motivates me."
The sky is the limit for any player that is named FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year.
Everyone in Serbia, the Czech Republic and all over the old continent want to know how far Vesely will go.
"I guess every single basketball player has a dream to play in the NBA one day," he said.
"I'm not different.
"I'll enter the NBA Draft this year and hopefully, I'll play in the NBA.
"But, on the other hand, I won't mind if I continue to play here, in Europe."